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Memorial set for Virginia Tech wrestler Darren Hankins

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A public memorial has been set for Darren Hankins, Virginia Tech wrestler who died in a drowning accident last week, the university announced Tuesday.

A memorial service will be held Thursday, July 10 at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church in Norfolk, Va. The service is open to the public.

Friends may also express condolences to the Hankins family by signing a card in the front lobby of Virginia Tech’s Merryman Center.

Hankins, 21, who had just completed his junior year, drowned while swimming in a water-filled rock quarry last Wednesday, July 2, just outside Blacksburg, home to the Virginia Tech campus. He was pronounced dead at the scene after being pulled from the water by first responders about 7:30 p.m.

Darren Bradford Hankins was born Dec. 22, 1992, the youngest of three children to David and Priscilla Hankins. According to the message posted at the Virginia Tech wrestling website that was provided by the family, “Darren developed many interests in chess, orchestra as a violinist, weightlifting, videography, organized sports to include baseball, football, basketball and his preferred sport of wrestling.”

Hankins, a junior, had not competed during the 2013-14 season after having knee surgery but assisted the team by posting videos and providing inspirational talks. In his sophomore year, Hankins was 14-13, scoring two major decisions, two technical falls, and one pin. As a freshman in 2011-12, Hankins was 4-9.

At Hickory High School in Chesapeake, Hankins was the Group AAA state runner-up at 215 pounds in his senior year. He finished fourth in the nation at the high school nationals.

The family said that Hankins had been offered scholarships from Old Dominion University, George Mason University, and Appalachian State University, choosing Virginia Tech because of the philosophy program curriculum, wrestling program, and the college town atmosphere of Blacksburg.

While at Virginia Tech, Hankins switched from philosophy to a theater arts major. “He loved the campus ministry, studying the Bible, and winning souls for Christ. He loved engaging people in dialogue,” said the message from his parents, which also described Darren as being inquisitive and questioning, even as a young child.

In addition to being survived by his parents David and Priscilla Hankins, Darren Hankins was survived by his brother D. Bernard Hankins Jr., his sister Dara Hankins, his grandmother Ida Hankins, four aunts, four uncles, and countless cousins. He is preceded in death by his grandmother Bishop Salina Ross and grandfather Columbus Hankins.

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